A cross-sectional study conducted in India among COVID-19 cases has found an increased number of infections among the younger age group of 0-19 years and women, higher mortality rate and more frequent incidences of post-vaccination infections with Delta variant as compared to a non-Variant of Concern lineage.
The COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update, released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) this week, said a cross-sectional study, which is not yet peer reviewed, focussed on demographic characteristics, including severity of the illness and mortality rate.
It was conducted in India among COVID-19 cases caused by the non-Variant Of Concern (B.1) variant and the Delta variant (B.1.617.2).
Using viral genomic sequences from 9,500 COVID-19 patients, the study found an increased number of infections among younger age groups (0-19 years) and women, a lower mean age for infection and symptomatic illness/hospitalisation, higher mortality and more frequent incidences of post-vaccination infections with Delta variant compared to the non-VOC (B.1) variant, the WHO update said.
The update said that globally, the number of weekly COVID-19 cases and deaths continued to decline, a trend that has been observed since August.
Over 3.1 million new cases and just over 54,000 new deaths were reported during the week of September 27 to October 3, 2021.
The cumulative number of confirmed cases reported globally is now over 234 million and the cumulative number of deaths is just under 4.8 million.
Cases this week decreased by 9 per cent as compared to the previous week, while the number of deaths remained similar to that of the past week.
All regions reported a decline in the number of new cases this week apart from the European Region.
The largest decrease in new weekly cases was reported from the African Region (43 per cent), followed by the Eastern Mediterranean Region (21 per cent), the South-East Asia Region (19 per cent), the Region of the Americas (12 per cent) and the Western Pacific (12 per cent).
The update said that the number of new weekly deaths reported showed an over 10 per cent decline for all regions except for the Regions of the Americas and Europe.
The largest decline in weekly deaths was reported from the African Region, with a 25 per cent decline as compared to the previous week.
The highest numbers of new cases were reported from the US (760,571 new cases; similar to the number reported in the previous week), the UK (239,781 new cases; similar to the number reported in the previous week), Turkey (197,277 new cases; similar to the number reported in the previous week), Russia (165,623 new cases; 13 per cent increase) and India (161,158 new cases; 21 per cent decrease).
The South-East Asia Region reported over 2,78,000 new cases and over 4,300 new deaths, decreases of 19 per cent and 18 per cent respectively as compared to the previous week.
This sustained regional decline in both cases and deaths has been observed since late July. This week, only one country – Bhutan – reported an increase in cases – although absolute numbers reported remain low. Similarly, Nepal was the only country to report an increase in the number of new deaths this week (68 new deaths; a 21 per cent increase).
The highest numbers of new cases were reported from India (161,158 new cases; 11.7 new cases per 100,000; a 21 per cent decrease), Thailand (75,794 new cases; 108.6 new cases per 100,000; an 11 per cent decrease) and Indonesia (11,271 new cases; 4.1 new cases per 100,000; a 35 per cent decrease).
The highest number of new deaths were reported from India (1,899 new deaths; a 9 per cent decrease), Thailand (746 new deaths; an 18 per cent decrease), and Indonesia (706 new deaths; a 29 per cent decrease).
Globally, cases of the Alpha variant have been reported in 195 countries, territories or areas, while 145 countries have reported cases of the Beta variant; and 99 countries have reported cases of the Gamma variant.
The Delta variant has been reported in 192 countries (seven new countries since last week) across all six WHO regions as of October 5.